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Published December 05 2010

Swift: Cleaning freezer causes slow burn

We’ve played a new game at the Swift Compound lately.

It’s called “What’s This Thing I Found in the Freezer?”

Every evening, one of us will enter the kitchen holding a misshapen, ice-covered package excavated from the nether regions of the Deepfreeze.

The identifying label peeled away months, perhaps years, ago. So now it’s simply a matter of carbon-dating and identifying the packet’s contents.

Did it once have a tail, or did it spring from the earth? Is it extremely new squash or extremely old ground beef?

There’s only one way to find out. We’ve been trying to clean out our freezer lately, so we’ve actually dined on a few of these mystery meals.

Sometimes, our Russian Roulette for the Palate pays off – like the perfectly good ground bison that was turned into a delicious chili last Sunday. But sometimes it will turn up an unfortunate surprise. Like the freezer-burnt, homemade sausages, which were either studded with blueberries or chunks of Popsicles that had migrated from another package.

(This is what happens when your husband buys breakfast meats from a guy in a fleet supply store parking lot.)

The answer, of course, is to actually get in there and clean out the freezer. I should defrost it, throw out anything that pre-dates a Gabor sister and group like items together.

But, as with most domestic chores, I feel completely overwhelmed by this. I used to clean my mom’s two mobile-home-sized freezers – a task akin to color-coding penguins at the South Pole.

They were packed to the brim with stuff: meat from that cow that broke its leg, vegetables from the Garden of Infinity, MREs (Mom’s Really Exceptional whatever), Schwan’s ice cream and the occasional garbage-bag-wrapped paint roller from the latest painting project.

It was almost impossible to find anything in there. Still, Mom wouldn’t let us throw away anything but the most fossilized of food. (As God is my witness, we once found an apple pie in her freezer that was at least 5 years old. But it was wrapped with the care of an ancient Egyptian prince. Likewise, when defrosted and warmed up, it tasted like it had just been baked.)

So I guess we’ll just continue to eat what we find in our own Deepfreeze.

Like that tub we recently unearthed from the top freezer basket. It has “B.C.” scrawled across the lid.

Let’s hope that stands for “Beef Chili,” and not “Before Christ.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tammy Swift at (701) 241-5525 or tswift@forumcomm.com